ISLAMABAD: Talks between Pakistan and Turkey on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are likely to begin in Ankara in April confirmed Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood in a conversation with media.
Dawood said that there was substantial progress towards initiating an FTA between the two countries.
“Pakistan will finish its study on FTA by March and start parleys on FTA in Ankara,” said the adviser.
Dawood shared that Islamabad has requested Ankara to convince its entrepreneurs to either outsource its industrial units and invest in export-oriented sectors in Pakistan or take advantage of the country’s FTA with China.
Under the FTA, both Pakistan and China will liberalize 75% of total tariff lines for each other in a period of 10 years and Turkish entrepreneurs can take advantage of it by investing in export-oriented sectors in Pakistan.
About the recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Pakistan along with a huge delegation of business leaders, the adviser stated that the meetings were meant for foreign direct investment.
Dawood said the Turkish side showed interest in investments in IT, a joint venture in tourism with local operators. The Turkish businessmen also showed interest in investing in construction, agriculture, dairy, and services sectors and several other sectors except for textile and leather.
However, Pakistan encouraged Turkish entrepreneurs to help Pakistan in the textile and garment sectors.
“There are many areas in the textile sector where Pakistan is found lacking and we want the Turkish entrepreneurs to come and either to invest in Pakistan or help Pakistan’s textile business leaders in joint ventures. And to this effect, a delegation from Pakistan textile industry would visit Turkey,” said Dawood.
The existing trade volume between the two countries has dropped drastically from $1.08 billion to $792 million after the imposition of a protective textile duty by Turkey.
Previously, the textile exports to Turkey were based on normal tariffs, but later Turkey imposed a very high 18% protective duty, leading to a decline in the textile exports. However, President Erdogan pledged to increase the bilateral trade by up to $5 billion in the next five years.